institute for documentary studies

{Week 13: Multimedia}

Week 13: Multimedia

Alison, writing

It’s go time. As in, go-do-work-all-the-time, time. Final projects are due in five days, which means the world now revolves around my computer screen and the seven minutes of my piece. Seven minutes distilled from two months of interviewing and photographing and collecting natural sound. Brutal. There are so many moments that didn’t make the cut, that will never be heard by anyone but me. The hardest part of trimming and shaving and editing the piece is thinking I know the story well enough that these decisions are correct.

But I have to know the story well enough—it’s my story. That was the biggest lesson from this week. All of our stories have now been through several rounds of critiques, which means we’ve gotten a lot of helpful advice. My problem was thinking that the advice was creating my piece, that I could half-heartedly throw something together and then work from the feedback. This was not a good approach. Whether I realized it, or not, I am the authority on my story and I needed to commit. So I started over again. I went through every clip and put aside anything that might be useful. I made lists of information that needed to be included and things that did not. I got so sucked into the work that I forgot to move my car, which was parked in a two-hour zone. But I finished the story. And I’m happy with it.  And in five days, it will be done.